New York

Bright lights, big cities

Work on international students in Australia points to the desire of these transient migrants to stay in Australia through permanent residency rather than return immediately to the homeland once they graduate from their course of study. While this work is accurate in its assessment of the trajectory of international students post-graduation, my study of international students points to a new pattern emerging, particularly among female international student, that shifts beyond home-host nation connections. Although female international student desire Australian permanent residence, they do not necessarily stay in their adopted country. Through extensive interviews with 34 international student women in Melbourne, my research reveals that these women are aspirational global citizens with ambitions to live and work in the big cities of Europe and North America. Their mobility is encouraged throughout by the friendship networks they make with fellow international students rather than with locals and their cultural, ethnic and national identities anchored through their sense of belonging to the home nation through rapid developments in communication and media technologies.

This is the abstract of a paper delivered recently by Chief Investigator Catherine Gomes, ‘The World is My Oyster: (Female) International Students in Australia and their Aspirations for Global Mobility’. Catherine spoke about the aspirations for transience of female international students in Australia at the Women in Community: Power of the M.I.N.D. conference held between 27 February to 1 March 2014, at the Wee Kim Wee Centre in the Singapore Management University.

Image from , CC2.5, cropped.